Getting a divorce can slam you with a mix of emotions. You can feel angry, frustrated, drained, confused and just plain overwhelmed. Many who are savvy in other aspects of their lives often feel completely out of their element when going through a divorce. They are just dropped into a new environment and expected to hit the ground running. Just realize that you are still on earth, not the surface of the moon. There are certain things to expect when going through a divorce, just as going through anything else. If you know what to expect, what you will be up against, you can prepare yourself and manage your expectations. This is one of the most important things you can do because it can safeguard you, and help you better transition. Those who don’t manage their expectations will often get steamrolled by the process. Then afterward they are stuck in a fog, bitter, crushed or the walking wounded. They have difficulty moving on and instead wallow in what has happened to them. A more natural and healthier transition is grieving, healing and then jumping in and exploring the new you. Here is what to expect when going through a divorce.
Don’t think that TV courtroom dramas are the real thing, they aren’t. The legal system can take forever. What’s more, the complexities may want to make you pull out your hair. Even an uncontentious divorce with no kids can take a while. Prepare yourself for the long haul. Take some time out for you, even if it’s just twenty minutes or a half hour a day to unwind. Read, watch something funny, or do whatever it is that relaxes you. Reach out to your social network. Seek out friends and family. Have good long talks with those who are close to you. That’s what they are there for. Expect to need to vent. This is a serious time in your life, and you will need support. It’s okay to reach out and talk to someone you feel close to. Usually, it takes a brave person to ask. But you’ll find that people can’t wait to help you. Expect to be collecting documentation. Make sure to have all of your paperwork, financial and otherwise in a row. Insurance, credit card statements, bank statements, investments, property and more have to be negotiated. Make sure to get a good divorce attorney who has a solid reputation and lots of experience. Do your homework. Expect to work closely with your lawyer and perhaps consider hiring other professionals such as a forensic accountant if you think that your soon-to-be ex-spouse is hiding assets.
Typically one person wants to work out the marriage, the other to leave it. Expect time to crawl by if you want out, and it to race by if you wanted to work things out. Everyone no matter what position they are in in a divorce feels as though they are at a disadvantage. Everyone feels knocked off kilter. Sometimes the one being dumped makes things drag along. At other times the one who wants out feels that they would give anything just to have it over. One may be in shock at this time. Or just in pain. Expect that some friends are just going to fall on your ex’s side, and be okay with that, or at least come to terms with it. That said, you can still have relationships with people you feel close to no matter whose friend they were first. Expect financial changes. Make a budget and stick to it. If you need help, seek out financial counseling, or free financial counseling in your area. Expect to be under a lot of stress and strain. You may absolutely hate your ex-spouse and something might slip out. Or you could lose it at some point. But it’s okay. It happens. We’re only human. People will understand. Give yourself a break. You may feel like a failure, but it just didn’t work out. It’s no one’s fault. Still, a sense of clarity and understanding will come to you if you just let it work its way to you naturally. If you have children, they will be affected by the divorce, study up on it, expect it and do the right thing. Be there for them. Studies have shown that children can be just as healthy, happy and well-adjusted as long as you help them adjust. When you start your new life and your new love life expect to make errors, and don’t wallow in them. Just keep it moving and some day it will be all behind you. To have your own personal analyst in your pocket to help you through this trying time, pick up a copy of, Divorce Guide Vol. 1: The Pocket Therapist (The Pocket Therapist Series) by Dr. Mel Gill.